Here's JR's Top 5 Local Sporting Moments of 2017!
- Record crowds as the Matildas waltz past Brazil
It’s the crowd that showed Newcastle not just respects women’s sport – but will pay good money to see it! Almost 17 thousand fans, a stand alone record for a women’s football game in Australia, turned out on a Tuesday night as the Matildas beat Brazil 3-2. Sam Kerr’s double (and subsequent backflip) showed why she is one of the most marketable sports stars in Australia today.
- Ben Simmons lights up the NBA
The Newcastle basketballing community passionately claims the soon-to-be NBA Rookie of the Year as their own – and the 21 year old continues to set records during his breakout season with the 76ers. He’s gone head to head with LeBron James, and with all round scoring, assist and rebound stats that have him compared to the greats of the game – there’s plenty of good times on the horizon for the former Hunters junior.
- Trent Hodkinson’s formal appearance
The rugby league feel good story of the year was Trent Hodkinson rocking up to the Kurri Kurri year 10 formal at the request of late cancer sufferer Hannah Rye. Ever humble, the Knights half spoke of the privilege it was to attend as Hannah’s guest, and providing a highlight not just to her, but the community at large. An amazing gesture from a wonderful clubman.
- Scott McLaughlin’s shocking Supercars Sunday
The Supercars was undoubtedly the biggest sporting event Newcastle has ever held, with over 190,000 through the gates over three days of November. Perfect weather and only a handful of crashes on the brand new street circuit saw the event classed as the best of the year by several motorsport aficionados… but Scott McLaughlin will be hoping for a better time in 2018. A pit lane penalty was just one of three he copped on the final day, culminating in putting Craig Lowndes into the wall and surrendering the championship lead to Jamie Whincup on the final lap.
- Wests buy the Knights
It’s the deal 30 years in the making, and sets up the Newcastle Knights with a solid financial backing for the future. The NRL offloaded the franchise, after picking up the tab following Nathan Tinkler’s shambolic period of ownership, and handed it to the biggest Leagues Club in the region. With Phil Gardner overseeing both Wests and the Knights, there’s a bit on his plate – but the stability this gives the Knights will no doubt give the club a solid base to build from in the coming years.